Yesterday I had a very enjoyable time at Shiloh Hakeduma, the archeological site at Tel Shiloh. As every Hol Hamoed, the "Intermediate Days of Succot and Passover," there were activities for all ages.
I made my way to the site which is believed to have been where the Mishkan, Tabernacle had been for almost four hundred years. There were a couple of musicians and a group of people. I quickly noticed that the people weren't Jewish. They were Christian, and some were even wearing large crosses. I sat on the side quietly observing the interaction between them and the young men playing the saxophone and electric organ.
Rather surprisingly, the group requested Jewish religious songs. They sang along with great enthusiasm. They kept asking for "Sh'ma Yisrael," a very iconic Jewish Prayer which states an important principle in Jewish theology, but the musicians insisted that they didn't know it as a "song." After singing a few other songs to the music played, the Christian group offered to sing "Sh'ma Yisrael" acapella, sans music.
The musicians and I were shocked to hear them singing the prayer exactly the way it's said in synagogue including the name of Gd and the second line, which is normally whispered. The translation is:
This is a total contradiction to Christian theology. And I couldn't remain quiet. I spoke:
"Do you know the actual meaning of this prayer?" I asked them.Their leader tried to contradict me with the usual "prophet" quotations. I refused to get into a theological discussion. I wanted the group to understand the very basis of Judaism and to stress that we do not accept their premise that the person they worship was a god who brought a new/revised message. By translating from the original Hebrew and ignoring the timeline, Christianity distorts the Bible.
"It means that there is only one Gd, one message, forever and ever."
Judaism stresses the importance of the first five books over Prophets and Writings. And we learn the Bible in Hebrew. Every translation is a distortion, because no two languages are the same. Only simple numbers can be translated without an agenda.
I find this hijacking of this basic Jewish Prayer very disturbing, because Christianity's entire theological agenda is the exact opposite of the message of the Sh'ma. I wonder if anyone really listened to me.